My heart is full of joy at the prospect of us being able to meet in person again at our church building. To see your face or to hug you personally again will be a great joy to my heart. For those of you who will yet be on Skype, “Fear not!” By God’s grace I may be able to travel again and to come be with many of you soon also.
Of course the grand meeting for us all will be at the Gathering around Thanksgiving. Lord willing, by November we may all be able to come together. With that in mind I would ask that, for all our sakes, each of you begin to set aside money for transportation so that we might have a most wonderful reunion with tears of joy.
I realize that it may seem early to be talking about such things but I am so anxious (in a good way) that we all prepare so that every face that can be here may do so. I promise you that I will hug you each at least five times or more. You have no clue how much I long for us to be together after such a long break. I will be praying for you constantly that God will make a way for all of us to be together, including for our health, safety, finances, and all other necessities to be provided for each of us. I pray now that the Spirit will quicken you with excitement over this prospect.
It is with this in mind that, in every newsletter leading up to Thanksgiving, I will put a different banner like the one below to welcome you and remind you. I love you, miss you and long to hug you. Let us exalt His name together:
“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Ps 34:1-3).
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
While it is true that they enjoyed a measure of spiritual power during the Lord’s ministry on earth, we see how even this little taste of heavenly ability puffed them up. Jesus sent them forth and gave them authority over evil spirits. So it happened that when they returned, they exclaimed, “Lord! Even the demons are subject to us through Thy name!” Even this small accomplishment made them rejoice and exalt in themselves. Jesus tells them this little bit of success is hardly worth rejoicing over (Luke 10:17-20). We also find the disciples rebuking others who used the name of Jesus to cast out demons. Why? Because “they are not of us.” Patiently, Jesus tells them to stop forbidding the others, because “he that is not against us is for us” (Luke 9:49-50). We see how quickly pride was able to gain a foothold.
What a tragedy it would have been to pour out the Holy Spirit in His fulness upon the disciples in such a condition! They were thoroughly unfit and unprepared to handle such power. Why? Not because they were insincere. No doubt they were very sincere. After all, they had forsaken everything and were following the Lord. Nevertheless, they were yet unbroken. That is to say, they were following the Lord and even had a taste of spiritual power, but they had not yet taken up the Cross. Over and over and over again, Christ said they must take up the Cross, but they themselves could not understand what He meant. They even sought to prevent the Lord from taking up HIS cross. They could not be entrusted with much power because they were not sufficiently dead to themselves. The slightest accomplishment would only be grounds for foolish boasting and further arguments to see who was to be the greatest among them (Mark 9:33-34; Luke 22:24). Hence, they were told to tarry in Jerusalem and wait until they would be endued with power from on High (Acts 1:4-5). As proud men, they were found arguing on many occasions, but as broken men they were finally in one mind and one accord. Thus, the Spirit came, and with the Spirit, the fulness of power (Acts 1:8).
Today, the call is for unity, but we need to see that unity cannot be achieved by calling people to unity. Unity is achieved when we take up the Cross and die to our minute opinions and lay down our petty arguments and prejudices. Then, and only then, will we come to one mind (Philippians 2:2-9). A broken spirit is a peaceful spirit, and is able to abide with others (Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:16-18). Contentious, unbroken, hard, stubborn people can never be in one accord. The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite spirit (Psalm 51:17).
What is the true definition of power to us anyway? Is it the ability to pray powerfully and give powerful words, yet we have no power over our own tongue or emotions? Power that does not come by way of weakness will ruin people such as this.
We should be afraid of listening to anyone who teaches us about the power of God but does not teach us about the necessity of brokenness (1 Corinthians 2:2-5). Invariably the power, once received, will pollute the spirit and pride will set in, rather than a heart for taking up the Cross.